TORONTO -- It has been a full two days since Ricky Romero last took the mound, but he was still a hot topic of conversation during Blue Jays manager John Farrell's pregame media scrum on Friday afternoon.
The Blue Jays are trying to find ways to help Romero turn around what has been a disappointing season to date. Romero opened the year as Toronto's No. 1 starter, but has proceeded to post a 5.75 ERA in 123 2/3 innings.
Toronto insists there is not physically wrong with Romero, nor are there any major mechanical issues that need to be worked out. In many ways, the problems Romero has experienced have more to do with the mental aspect than the physical aspect of the game.
"What I'd like to see from Ricky is just to get back to the basics," Farrell said. "Where's the tough kid from East L.A.? And just know that there's a confrontation between him and the guy in the box, and trust that he's got the upper hand, no matter what pitch is called because he's got the final say to that, and be convicted to that selection and let his natural competitiveness carry him through."
The biggest change for Romero's next outing will take place behind the plate. When he takes the mound in Seattle on Monday night, veteran Jeff Mathis will call the pitches.
It will be the first time since 2010 that Romero works with a catcher other than J.P. Arencibia. Toronto's backstop was recently placed on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured left hand, which makes Mathis the new everyday guy.
There's at least an element of hope that a new set of eyes will help Romero work through his struggles and get back to being one of the best pitchers in the American League.
"It very well could and we're -- I don't want to say anxious to see if that has any bearing -- but this will be a new matchup because of J.P.'s injury," Farrell said. "It's something that was considered previous to shake it up a little bit, but we'll see."